• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

FBI Director Wray to testify for first time since deadly Capitol riot

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

FBI Director Christopher Wray is preparing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first time since the deadly assault on the Capitol nearly two months ago. It follows hearings last week where Capitol security leadership officials detailed what went wrong. Chuck Marino, a former Homeland Security adviser, joined “CBSN AM” to discuss.

Video Transcript

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: So for the first time since the deadly assault on the Capitol, lawmakers will hear from the director of the FBI under oath. Director Christopher Wray is set to testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill that's going to happen around 10:00 Eastern this morning. He-- his hearing, rather-- comes as more than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot and a week after Capitol security leadership themselves testified about what went wrong nearly two months ago.

So for more on this, a look ahead to the hearing, I want to bring in Chuck Marino. He's a former Homeland Security advisor and Secret Service Supervisory Special Agent. Thank you so much for joining us this morning, Chuck. So in last week's hearing--

CHUCK MARINO: Good morning.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: --the Capitol Police chief at the time-- good morning-- said that he did not receive the FBI field report warning about potential violence at the Capitol. Seems like some people received it, that it went sort of halfway up the chain, but not all the way up the chain. He and other officials who testified also detailed communication failures before and during the assault. So what do you make of that testimony, and what will you be looking out for the most when we hear from Director Wray today?

CHUCK MARINO: Thanks, Anne-Marie. Yeah, I think last week's hearing was the start, right? And you need to start exactly where the situation took place. And that was at the Capitol. Along with the former Chief of Police for the Capitol, you had the former Senate and House Sergeant at Arms, as well as the current acting Chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police.

And listen, if you hear their take on things, they're pointing directly to a lack of clear and complete intelligence, which leads back to the FBI and also the Department of Homeland Security. But I think the testimony also identified several areas of concern within the Capitol Police. I think it cited the inefficiencies as many members identified of the Capitol Review Board, which is a very slow, robust process in terms of decision making. I think you identified lack of training, equipment, and other areas, as well as communication.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Yeah. So we're going to hear from Director Wray today for the first time on the assault on the Capitol. But it's not the first time that he has spoken about the dangers of homegrown extremism. He has spoken before in front of Congress about this. I want to play a little bit of sound.

CHRISTOPHER WRAY: We're also working around the clock to prevent attacks by domestic terrorists who are inspired by one or more extremist ideologies to commit violent acts. In recent years, we've been laser focused on threats by racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists. They, too, are often radicalized online and mobilized quickly to carry out their violent plans.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: So Director Wray has been very, very open about his assertion that domestic terrorism is a number-- is one of the top threats to this country. It's not about extremists from coming outside of the country. It's about right here, individuals being radicalized right here on the computer in their home or in their basement. So given what we already know about how the FBI feels about this threat, you know, what do you think happened? Is it that, you know, it's still not being taken as seriously as it should?

Because when you look at the face of these extremists, they look like people you know. They look like your neighbor. They look like someone in your family. They may very well be someone in your family. And so as much as he's been trying to sound the alarm, it's just not being-- it's still not being taken seriously. And it certainly wasn't before January 6.

CHUCK MARINO: Yeah. I mean, simply put, what you're hearing him identify in that testimony around the edges a little bit is what's been identified as the number one threat in the country. And that's white supremacy. It's been identified as such by the Department of Homeland Security well over six months ago and beyond. So we know that fact to be true. We were speaking about the militias here. We're speaking about the radicalization and the ideology to align.

As we know, the incident on January 6 included members, most prominently of the Proud Boys, which have so far been charged with conspiring and organizing to essentially conduct an insurgency that day. So you know, while people may not have attended the events on January 6 at the rally, to subsequently end up at the Capitol and enter the building, there was this mob mentality that I think was led by the militias, which the charging documents will prove, which led to this over 800 people entering the building in a very violent way.

Now, in terms of hearing from the director today, I think it's going to put the focus on what type of information did they have? When did they have it? And how was it disseminated? If we recall, the former Capitol Police chief had a primary concern of how the information that he had about violence on January 6, how that was delivered by the FBI the day before on January 5. And the complaints from both he and the acting police chief from D.C. was that it came via normal email.

So if you're looking at this and the director's testimony as what the FBI's focus is to prevent and disrupt these types of situations from happening, today could get a little rough for him.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: OK, let's talk about that idea of preventing and disrupting. We know that more than 300 people are facing charges. Some of those are going to be misdemeanor. They're going to be trespassing or something minor. But at least 18 people are facing conspiracy charges. It seems as if the Justice Department is not just looking to sort of the lower level insurrectionist, if you will. But they're looking at people who may have helped to plan this whole event. How important is that, the way that this is-- January 6 incident-- the way it's investigated and prosecuted? How important is that to preventing a future attempted violence in the Capitol?

We already know that there's a lot of chitchat online about March 4. And so you know, I guess what I'm trying to ask you is, it's one thing to give people a slap on the wrist. But it's another thing to kind of like root out the organizers.

CHUCK MARINO: That's right. There's the destruction that I just spoke about in terms of preventing acts from happening, planning from happening. And then there's what you're referring to right now, which I refer to as, what's the deterrent, right? Now, over the 280 plus arrests that have been made by the FBI, is very aggressive. The investigation is going along quite rapidly, to be quite honest with you. So that will serve as some type of a deterrent. People just don't want to get identified and arrested.

However, what are they being arrested with? You referred to unlawful entry. This is one of my pet peeves where I feel the crime doesn't match the actions. So I think what you're hearing right now within the law enforcement community and national security community is, does there need to be a domestic terrorism statute to suit cases such as these?

Let's not forget, Timothy McVay in the Oklahoma City bombing, while we refer to him as a domestic terrorist, was not charged with domestic terrorism. There currently is no statute. So what we're finding is, these folks are going to be charged with ancillary charges as you referred to-- unlawful entry, destruction of federal property. And ultimately, like I said, the charges just do not match the crime, and therefore don't serve as an effective deterrent.

So where you bring up March 4 and QAnon about this almost second coming of Trump's presidency here and how that can inspire and fall under the radicalization, what's the deterrent in place to prevent another January 6 from happening?

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Well, let's hope that the FBI director is asked some of those questions today. Thank you so much, Chuck Marino.

CHUCK MARINO: OK, Anne-Marie. Thank you.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: So a quick programming note. Director Wray's testimony is scheduled to get underway in just a couple of hours. You can stream it live right here at 10:00 AM Eastern on CBSN.